The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a dystopian set in England, close to London. A zombie tale with a difference, this has a different take on the virus itself and those it affects, raising the question of what does it take to be considered human.
A young girl named Melanie has spent her entire life within a medical research facility, equipped with army personnel who point their guns at her, muzzle her and spray her with chemicals once a week. During the week however, Melanie gets to attend school that makes her feel like a normal girl, and one of the teachers is the divine Miss Justineau who treats Melanie, and the other children, as though they truly are normal children. Except each one of them are chained down, and each one of them are utter geniuses. The world has moved on though, and their only concept of normal comes from the few books they are allowed to be read to from.
Outside there are hungries and Junkers – people who live out beyond the research facility and the new remaining towns that are still established (if they even still exist). Life is one big schedule they all must stick to a follow, countless rules and protocols, all for their evergoing safety.
That is, of course, until one day it all goes terribly and utterly wrong, and forces together people who don’t trust each other – let alone like each other.
From there we are in a survival tale that seems believable with the right amount of action, desperation and things-going-wrong. It takes us in directions you would be hard-pressed to anticipate, and shows a hint of how at the end of the day, no matter what the stakes are, humans are humans and are quite often, unfortunately, selfish.
Though love is also proven to be a strong motivator.
This is a strong, engaging read that takes characters you may not always like but certainly come to care for, and in parts will find it impossible to even consider the idea of putting the book down.
This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 23rd February 2013.